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Developer offers new plans for big housing project on historic street near UW-Madison
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Developer offers new plans for big housing project on historic street near UW-Madison

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Core Spaces proposal

Core Spaces has offered revised plans for a seven-story, 106-unit housing project at 126 Langdon St. near UW-Madison.

After failing to win city approvals, a developer is offering revised plans for a seven-story apartment building on a street that’s home to many fraternities and sororities near UW-Madison.

In late July, the city Plan Commission voted 7-1 to deny Core Spaces’ proposal for its Hub II redevelopment with 108 housing units on an empty lot at 126 Langdon St. The site once held The Langdon Apartments, a massive, seven-story cream and brown brick structure that sat vacant for a decade before it was demolished in the summer of 2019.

Core Spaces, which filed and then withdrew an appeal of the Plan Commission decision to the City Council, is now proposing a building of the same height with 106 apartments and a redesign of the front façade, a reduction in the number of bedrooms from 376 to 353, two more onsite parking stalls for delivery vehicles, and several other changes.

The project, which would be five stories facing Langdon Street, would rise to seven stories at the rear of the deep, narrow, L-shaped lot and still include a rooftop deck with swimming pool.

“We’ve worked with the city, our consultants, and designers and have attempted to figure out how our project can best enhance the neighborhood with the changes we’ve made,” said Rodney J. King, senior vice president for development at Core Spaces.

The changes result in a building that’s more in context with its surroundings while adhering to staff and Urban Design Commission guidance on the architectural character, King said.

“The Langdon Street façade was reduced in height and width by adding a step back above a portion of the third level and a significant setback at the building’s corner, starting on the first floor,” he said. “We added two parking spots for ride-share and deliveries, in addition to the two we previously proposed. We added space to accommodate guest bikes/mopeds.”

Core Spaces has submitted a management plan, vetted by the Madison Police, that should address any safety concerns, he said.

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Plan Commission member and Ald. Patrick Heck, 2nd District, who represents the area, said the commission previously did not approve the requested conditional uses due to concerns about negative impacts on surrounding neighbors from a large number of delivery vehicles expected each day and because the size and mass of the proposed building was not in keeping with the context of the historic Langdon Street neighborhood in the Downtown Plan.

The commission, however, denied the application in a way that gave Core Spaces the ability to submit a new proposal rather than having to wait a year.

“The new submittal, which will be treated independent from the previous application, has several key changes,” Heck said. “Whether or not the negative impacts on the neighborhood have been sufficiently addressed will be up to Plan Commission.”

The Downtown Height Map allows five stories at the site with up to two more stories as a conditional use if it meets conditions including compatibility with the surrounding area, if the extra height brings a higher-quality building, and if it complements the setting of adjacent landmarks.

It’s anticipated that after a neighborhood meeting and consideration by a yet-to-form Campus Area Neighborhood Association steering committee, the proposal will go before the Plan Commission as soon as February, Heck said on his city webpage.

If approvals are secured, Core Spaces intends to begin construction in the spring of 2021 and complete the project for the fall of 2022.

The Hub II would be Core Spaces’ third big student housing project in Madison, following The Hub, a 313-unit mixed-use project at 437 N. Frances St. that opened in 2015, and The James, a 366-unit mixed-use project that opened at 432 W. Gorham St. in 2017.

Photos: Tiny house village

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